Here are 4 tips for your next English lesson.
Remember, just because you’re speaking English doesn’t mean you’re improving.
One of my hobbies is public speaking. Every Monday night I go to my club meeting and practice.
If I’m a little nervous, that’s good; my focus is better.
If I’m too nervous, I start to forget things – words, sentences, my name..
And that’s bad.
It’s the same when you practice English.
Relax and you’ll do better.
Science shows us that it’s physically impossible to be stressed and smart.
When you get stressed, the hormone cortisol makes your arteries smaller, less blood gets to your brain, and therefore less oxygen.
That’s why you forget things and feel stupid.
2. Be like a baby
Babies are incredible language learners.
At one stage in their life, they learn, on average, one word an hour.
That’s amazing, but it’s not because they’re smarter than us (Proof: I know how to flush a toilet and they don’t!)
But one of the reasons they do better at language is because they’re born with the learning program installed.
That program is called: “Ask questions and repeat.”
And that’s exactly what they do for the first few years of their lives.
Meanwhile, adults have a different program controlling their behaviour.
This program is called: “Don’t look stupid.”
So be like a baby, and ask your teacher questions, then repeat.
It’s simple, but few students do it.
3. Make mistakes
Mistakes are good.
But in school you learned the opposite.
Make a mistake and get a lower grade. Make too many mistakes, and fail. Fail too often and you’ll be the only kid in class old enough to drive, vote, buy alcohol and apply for a mortgage. Not good.
But speaking is a skill.
And with any skill, the way you learn is you try and fail and try and fail and try and fail.
In fact, you must make mistakes to learn.
If you’re not making mistakes you’re not learning.
Mistakes are good.
4. No donuts
A few summers ago I hired a personal trainer.
At the end of our workout he gave me some “homework.”
It wasn’t more exercise; it was a meal plan, what I should eat between workouts.
Imagine working hard in the gym but then eating donuts and ice cream at home?
What’s the point?
Yet when you speak, and only speak, you’re doing the same.
Your donut is your native language. It’s easy, it tastes good, but it’s not helping your English.
So do more English between lessons – watch tv, read, listen to podcasts.
Plus, it will give you something more to talk about during your lessons other than “How was your weekend?”
You don’t have a conversation partner?
Well then, have a look at my other site, teacher-creature.com
Most of the teachers are in Prague, but if you’re not in Prague,
just ask a teacher about meeting on Skype. Most would be happy to have the opportunity to stay home.
Then schedule your Fluency Audit to get your personalized “English meal plan.”